This festive season, check out these easy-to-make traditional recipes from Hyderabad's top chefs  

Try these recipes for Sankranti

author_img Suchitra Behara Published :  14th January 2022 02:29 AM   |   Published :   |  14th January 2022 02:29 AM

Sankranti specials

Celebrated for three days — Bhogi, Sankranti, and Kanuma — the festival of harvest is here. The major festival of Telangana and Andhra regions, every household is beautifully decorated with marigold flowers and colourful muggu. And if you step into the rural regions, you can spot everything from Bhogi mantalu to kite-flying competitions. What else? The three days are incomplete without authentic Telugu sweets and savouries. We spoke to three top chefs from the city who shared their favourite traditional Sankranti recipes but with a twist.

Bellam Kajjikayalu, basundi cream

Kajjikayalu is a staple dessert prepared during Pongal. Giving it a velvety twist, the executive chef of Anna Native, Mohd. Ismail shares an easy-to-make Bellam Kajjikayalu served with basundi cream.

Ingredients: Kajjikayalu: Refined flour - 500gm | Ghee - 4 teaspoons | Water - 200 millilitres | Salt - to taste | Refined oil - For deep frying | Fennel powder - 5 grams | Coconut, grated - 50 grams | Semolina - 100 grams | Cashew nuts, chopped - 25 grams | Bellam, grated - 100 grams

Basundi cream: Full cream milk - 1 litre | Sugar - 60 grams | Saffron - 5 strings | Cardamom powder - 2 teaspoons | Cashew nuts, chopped - 20 grams

Mohd. Ismail


Bellam Kajjikayalu:

● Take refined flour in a bowl, add salt and water. Knead it to a smooth dough and divide them into small balls.

● Cover and keep them aside for an hour.

● Now, take a pan and heat the ghee. Once the ghee gets hot, roast grated coconut and semolina till they turn golden brown. Then add jaggery, fennel powder, and fried cashew nuts. Remove them from the heat and allow them to cool down.

● Shape the dough in kajjikayalu shape, and stuff them with the coconut and semolina mixture. Deep fry them in hot oil and place them on an oil absorbent paper.

Basundi cream:

● To prepare the basundi cream, take a heavy-bottomed pot and boil full cream milk. When it comes to a boil, reduce the heat and you will see a layer of cream at this stage. Using a whisk, break the cream and simmer until the quantity reduces to ¼. Remove the milk from the heat and then add sugar, saffron, and cardamom powder.

● Serve the kajjikayalu with cream, garnished with dry fruits.

ALSO READ: Sankranti special: This recipe of Puran Poli with Ganne ke Ras ki kheer promises sweet indulgence​

Bellam Garelu

Chef Chalapathi Rao of Simply South, shares his favourite festival recipe, Bellam Garelu. Made with jaggery, the chef says that this dish brings a hint of nostalgia for him.


Urad dal - 250 grams | Jaggery - 500 grams | Water - 500 millilitres ( or required for jaggery syrup) | Oil - For frying | Salt - As per taste

Chalapathi Rao


● In a medium-sized vessel, wash the urad dal and soak it for about three hours. Then, drain the water and make a smooth and fluffy paste using a blender, adding little water as required. Add salt to taste.

● Allow this batter to rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a thick-bottomed vessel, take grated jaggery, water, and heat the jaggery syrup.

● While the jaggery syrup is boiling, keep removing the froth from it. Allow the syrup to boil and then pass it through a muslin cloth to remove the impurities.

● Boil the syrup again but ensure that it is not too thick.


● In a kadhai, heat some oil and fry donut-shaped dumplings, made from the batter. The garelu must be fried till they turn golden.

● Once the garelu are fried, strain the excess oil and transfer them to the thin jaggery syrup gently. Allow the garelu to soak in the syrup.

Bellam garelu is ready to be served.

Nalli Nihari

On the last day of the festival, meat-based dishes like gongura mamsam and natu kodi pulusu are prepared to mark the end of the festivities. But, if you wish to try something new, then opt for this Nalli Nihari recipe, a favourite Hyderabadi dish. The recipe is shared by the executive chef of Novotel Hyderabad Airport, Varun M B, who informs us that he likes to prepare something new every festival season.


Lamb shanks - ½ kilogram | Ghee - 30 grams | Onions, sliced - 100 grams | Green chilies, slit - 5 | Bay leaves - 3 | Cinnamon stick - 1 grams | Cloves - 2 | Cardamom - 2 | Shahi jeera - 1 gram | Ginger garlic paste - 15 grams | Nihari masala - 30 grams | Chili powder - 30 grams | Coriander powder - 30 grams | Coriander, chopped - 30 grams | Turmeric powder - 5 grams | Ginger, cut into juliennes (for garnish) - 5 grams | Lemon - For garnish | Wheat flour - 10 grams | Salt - As per taste | Water - As required

Varun M B


● In a medium-sized stockpot add ghee and heat it on a low flame.

● To this, add the whole masala and sauté for five seconds. Add onion, green chillies, and cook till the raw flavour leaves.

● Now, add chili powder, coriander powder, sauté for another 15 seconds. Also add ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder, and lamb nalli or shanks to it. While the lamb cooks, season with salt.

● Cook on slow flame for 15 minutes and add water to the pot. Once the water starts to boil, add nihari masala.

● Simmer, cook it till the lamb is tender, and add wheat flour and water concoction to the gravy. This will thicken the curry.

● Serve the lamb with tandoori roti or rice.